Intestinal helminths—including hookworm, roundworm, schistosomiasis and whipworm—infect more than one in three people worldwide and  at least 800 million of these are school-age children. Worms are believed to have a negative impact on child development, and can contribute to lower educational attainment and income later in life. Intestinal worms can be effectively treated with low-cost drugs, but treatment must be continued indefinitely to prevent re-infection.

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Entrepreneurship accounts for a large share of female employment in most developing countries. However, the majority of female-owned enterprises are small in scale with low earning levels. In Sri Lanka, researchers tested whether business training, by itself or combined with a grant, can raise the income of women entrepreneurs. Among current entrepreneurs, the training improved business practices but did not have an impact on performance.

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Researchers examined whether making cash payments conditional on testing negative for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can improve safe sex practices among 18-30 year olds. Results reveal that giving cash payments of US$20, conditional on testing negative for sexually transmitted diseases, significantly reduced STI infection rates among young adults in Tanzania.

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More than one billion people living in low-income countries do not have access to clean drinking water, leaving them at risk of contracting diarrheal diseases. Drinking chlorinated water can reduce this risk, but there is much uncertainty around what price should be charged in order to encourage the greatest use of chlorine.

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In many countries, sanitation facilities, such as simple pit latrines are common and are helpful for maintaining sanitation and preventing illness. However, young children often continue to defecate in the open long after they are old enough to use the latrine finding open pit latrines intimidating and challenging to use. Innovations for Poverty Action has developed a simple, affordable, and scalable tool called the Safe Squat ™ latrine training mat for use in such contexts.

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Insecticide-treated bed nets have been proven highly effective in preventing malaria, reducing maternal anemia, and infant mortality, both directly for users and indirectly for non-users in their vicinity. Despite their proven impact, less than half of Kenyans sleep under a bednet. This study tested willingness to pay by households and a range of marketing effects.

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Farmers face many challenges as they try to grow and sell enough crops to support their families. Uncertain rainfall, potential crop failure due to natural distasters or disease, unpredictable crop prices, and shaky land tenure all contribute to the difficulties and risks inherent in farming. Improvements in the production processes and productivity of farmland could help many poor families achieve a better life. The Alatona zone is one of the most disadvantaged zones in Mali.

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Use of inorganic fertilizer has the potential to dramatically increase yields and, if used correctly, is a highly profitable investment. So why do so few farmers in sub-Saharan Africa use it?

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The development of parasite resistance to Chloroquine was a major factor in the resurgence of malaria in Africa over the past two decades. Successive generations of antimalarials have become more expensive to produce and less able to withstand parasite resistance. Artemisinin Combination Therapies (ACTs) are currently the only remaining effective antimalarial and preserving the efficacy of these drugs is essential to controlling malaria mortality and morbidity.

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Malaria is one of the most common causes of illness in Sub-Saharan Africa. The standard first response to a suspected malaria episode is to purchase over-the-counter medication from a local pharmacy, bypassing the formal health care system altogether. Evidence is emerging that a large share of illnesses for which antimalarial medication is taken are not in fact malaria, but are rather bacterial or viral infections.

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This study of the impact of entrepreneurship training and mentoring in Uganda evaluates a program which aims to help women entrepreneurs develop the skills they need to run thriving businesses. In addition to testing the overall impact of the program on participating entrepreneurs and the businesses with whom they compete or collaborate, the study will demonstrate the relative cost-effectiveness of intensive, personalized training versus a less intensive, standardized approach.

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We partner with Green Bank to assess the demand for hospital insurance among microfinance clients.

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Kenya’s education system blends substantial centralization with elements of local control and school choice.  This project looks at the system of incentives created by elements of decentralization.

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